I picked up another small graphic design job today! I met with my buddy, Adam, (socially distant, outdoors and with masks on) to discuss redesigning his bands logo. We talked about what he and his bandmates have been through over the years and their plans to release their first LP. I also talked about how I've been considering doing more graphic design work for clients now that Covid has taken away my DJ & vending gigs. His band logo, and the other design I've been working on, are good first jobs to help me get my feet wet doing freelance work, which has never been appealing to me before.
But I made a little bit of progress on the store. FYI: the website I'm working on is not FRANKIEMCFLY.COM. It's a dummy site that I'm learning to use before moving my domain name over.
Wordpress is confusing as fuck but I made a little bit of progress. Tonight I played around with Themes, created some pages and played around with menu. There's still so much more to do before I can make it live.
I tried using a Weebly to Wordpress exporter to move my blog but got the error message below. The Wordpress dashboard shows that my old blog posts came over but the images did not.
It's been a pretty busy week at home so far. Not so much much with art but with other projects. Tonight I rearranged & saved my workspace on Adobe Illustrator to match designer Aaron Draplin's workspace, as shown on one of his Skillshare videos. His course, "Design Like Draplin: 21 Tips for speedingUp Your Design Workflow," is what motivated to buy a larger external monitor. I've been using my 15" Macbook for years and never realized how cramped and cluttered my workspace was till I watched his course.
My new monitor arrived today! Finally, I have more room to play with when using Adobe apps. I can even rotate it 90 degrees and fit my whole homepage on it. Weebly also sent me an eviction notice today. My website is still up and running as of now. I paid for a year of web hosting with a new host and installed Wordpress. Hopefully I can transfer my old blog posts over before Weebly shuts it down. Otherwise I'm gonna have to pay for an extra month just to copy it over.
Messages have started showing up when I log onto Weebly asking me to pay for a plan or to remove some features from my site. I didn't renew Weebly's Business Plan when it expired last week. I thought they were going to close my site but it's still up and running. I can still post to my blog and I think as long as I don't edit the site and click Publish, I can keep using it as-is. I want to learn & switch to a Wordpress site, so now that I got the time, I've decided to watch tutorials and get educated. It seems complicated at first but looks easier once it's up and running. First things first, find a web host and pay for a hosting plan, so I'm figuring out how to go about that.
Today I bought a one-year subscription to Skillshare Premium. Skillshare.com is website with a bunch of online courses on all a bunch of different subjects. I heard about it when one of my favorite graphic designers, Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co., shared on his Instagram (@draplin) that he released a new course. He's taught 6 of them. Tonight I watched his 2-hour course on improving your Adobe Illustrator workflow and it alone is worth the $59 I paid for the whole year.
I started calculating my self employed income & deductible expenses in late December then paid my Sales & Use Tax at the end of January. I then started doing my state & federal income taxes in early February to give myself plenty of time before the April 15 due date. Soon after, the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the tax deadline was postponed till July 15th, which is 4 days away. Tonight I tried picking up where I left off 4 months ago. I spent most of the time reviewing the work I already did, going over old notes and taking a bunch of new notes. I was a little overwhelmed at first but ended the night feeling confident about what to do next and preparing to make future tax filings easier.
Last night I found out that HBO was streaming the Watchmen series for free this weekend and I binged thru all 9 hour-long episodes today. From what I understand, HBO is doing this for Juneteenth to highlight "Black experiences, voices and storytellers." The show is sort-of a sequel to the 80s comic book, not the 2009 movie. This series deals with racism and has superheroes and police wearing masks to hide their identities. The series opens with the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre which was a real event that I never knew about until this tv series premiered.
A few days ago I started using a fresh Copic marker and today as I was warming-up I saw a little thread hanging from the tip. I pulled it, thinking it was lint, and it turned out to be the nib itself. It was damaged and I made it worse by yanking it. I was pissed off at myself. I tried cutting with an X-acto knife what I had pulled but I couldn't get it back to normal. Afterwards I didn't want to use the marker anymore and I didn't have any extras. I thought I wasn't gonna be able to work on my piece for a few days till I got new markers delivered. When I went on Michaels.com I saw that the store closest to me had black Copics in stock, and was doing curbside pickup, and had a coupon for 20% off the order. I ordered a couple Copic markers and a Pentel brush pen and they were ready to pick up in less than 30 minutes. I lost a couple hours, total, trying to fix it and picking up a replacement it but it was better than losing a few days waiting on a delivery. I don't know if Michaels stores have been doing the curbside pickup the whole time during the pandemic, or if they just started doing it, but it saved my ass today. And this is not an ad or endorsement, shopping at Michaels is usually pretty disappointing.
My work requested some recorded mixes of music I'd play at weddings, that's quick-mixed in & out of. I tried a few days ago and couldn't do it. My mixes fell apart after a couple songs. I feel that most music I play at weddings sounds better when people are dancing to it. Without an audience, most wedding dance music feels flat to me. Today I tried again but used a few songs I wouldn't normally play at events, focused on what makes me dance and had fun with it. It took a long time to choose the songs and listen to them to find the in & out points. When I finally recorded it it took me two tries to get it right/good-enough. In the end I made this 13 minute mix that starts in the 60s and works its way to the 2000s
This is turning out to be the most challenging and the most fun to ink because every eye & mouth is different and it keeps me from getting bored. It also forces me to tackle each character with different pens & techniques.
I finally got around to filling in the background. Before inking the piece I did a mock-up in Photoshop, printed it out, and made a few edits. When I started I didn't take into account the black space between shapes so some areas barely have any background showing through. My solution was to shave some shapes down to allow more black to come through. I did everything on the photocopy before transferring them to the piece. I also tested Sharpies vs Copic markers on the same photocopy to see which black is blacker. The Copic was just a tiny bit darker so I'm been using that to fill in the background.
Rot. In. Pot.
Today my little aloe vera plant finally bit the big one. This morning I saw that the last leaf I was trying to revive was half rotted away. The plant was a gift from my friend Amanda. She gave it to me in August and apparently I've been overwatering it since then. I sketched the bone plant drawing after the first leaves fell off in February and digitally inked it tonight to commemorate Planties short life and long drawn out death.
This is kinda what it looks like when you go to @sanjoseday on Instagram and scroll to my post. It's one long seamless image broken down into 10 slides. I laid out a bunch of different digital drawings & designs I've made over the past few years. It was fun making this and participating in the virtual art show since we're all still sheltering in place. The actual San Jose Day event has been postponed to July 18. Hopefully we'll be over the 'Rona by then. Fingers crossed.
I went LIVE on Instagram again tonight and drew this dude. I prepped music from my "60s & Older" playlist on Spotify before hitting Record. I learned from last time to check my phone every few minutes and make sure I'm still broadcasting. About 15 minutes in I saw that I was no longer Live and there was a message saying I got booted because of the copyrighted music in the background. I skipped whatever track was playing and hit record again. I was able to broadcast for 30 mins before the video stopped again. I think that's the limit. I fired it up one more time and was able to finish my drawing. The first 15 minutes are gone but you can watch the rest on Instagram (@frankiemcfly) till tomorrow night. I watched the playback and realize it gets kinda boring just watching me draw. If it wasn't so late I'd be talking while drawing. I also need to figure out a way to read the messages while I draw. The rig I built holds my phone 2 feet above my desk and I need to stand up and check that I'm still broadcasting. I want to be able to check the status and respond to comments without stopping what I'm doing. Hopefully I'll have that figured out and make it more entertaining next time.
I shot my first Instagram Live video today. I built a rig to hold my phone over my desk to record myself drawing. I made an hour long playlist on Spotify of 80s music because I read Live videos go up to 60 minutes but my video got cut off around the 30 minute mark. I freestyled the pencils then inked it with Sharpie and Copic markers. I finished it by coloring in the inside shape with a yellow highlighter but no one got to see it. Next time I'll plan for a half hour video.
Follow me on Instagram to catch the next one @frankiemcfly
I digitally inked this sucker tonight. I used Adobe Fresco on the iPad, which is a replacement for Adobe Illustrator Draw. I've been using Draw for a couple years. It's what I used to draw the vector based graphics for my t-shirts. Fresco is taking a little getting used to but it seems to be a much better app than Draw.
Today I and counted all my shirts after the Local Color Daytime Market on Sunday and updated my inventory online. This is the part of the job that sucks the most so I'm always trying streamline and improve the process to make it faster and easier to do. Everything from the way the shirts are folded, stacked, stored & logged has had some thought put into it. I recently made changes to how I log the info so I can see how many total shirts I have in stock per design/style and made it so I can quickly figure out how many of each size & style has gone out. Making those little tweaks are fun and the data it provides is valuable.
My good friend Arely was recently asked to display her artwork at the Jennifer & Philip DiNapoli Gallery inside the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library. She hung it up a few days ago and today I went and checked it out. She's a bad-ass artist and I'm glad she was asked to exhibit in this space. This is the same gallery I'll be hanging my work in in a couple months. I already started asking her questions about the installation process :)
Arely's work is on display for the whole month of March so please check it out if you're in San Jose.
Also visit her website: www.arelycardenas.com
I didn't do a good of tracking business related mileage last year. I downloaded a mileage tracker on my phone last year and never really checked it till this weekend. There are probably thousands of trips logged on the app and it just gives me the addresses at every stop. I have to click each address and zoom in to figure out the locations. I reviewed a bunch of trips today from 2019 and figured it would take me days to go thru all of them so I went and did all of 2020. I want to be better about logging mileage going forward so I'm gonna try and review my trips everyday before bed. Wish me luck.
Not really a problem, just more work. I earned more business income this year doing murals/painting, graphic design and t-shirt sales compared to last year just doing t-shirts. Now that I'm preparing my taxes I have to figure out the income and expenses for each type of work. I wasn't fully prepared for this so I've spent the last couple days going over all of my 2019 business transactions again, making sure I have all the data I need to calculate everything. Going forward I'll need to take even better notes on all business transactions for 2020.
I'm getting ready to file my taxes so I went thru last years tax stuff and found I picture I drew of myself. It was my first year filing business income & expenses for 2018 and it took me a few weeks to go over all my records and file. It sucked while I was doing it but felt great once I finished. I think I did better job at keeping records for 2019 so it shouldn't take as long as last year.
I waited till the last day but I paid it on time. All the sales tax I collected from t-shirt sales in 2019. I would have forgoten if my friend Arely didn't ask me about it. Last year was her first year vending so she got her first notice to pay from the CDTFA. This is my second time doing it. Any questions I had this year I figured out by looking at my old records. I'm glad I got it paid in time and that I saved the money to pay it. Next up are the federal and state tax returns. I'm just waiting on my W-2 from work, and maybe a few other forms. I can't wait to get it done & over with and see how much money I'll have left over for merch.